One big swing turns around Padres' fortunes

Down two in the ninth, San Diego scores five runs

April 27th, 2017

PHOENIX -- When came up to bat in the ninth inning on Wednesday night against old friend , he knew he was in a horrendous slump. But he wasn't aware of the depth of it: 6-for-60.

"Thanks for telling me that, though, I had no idea," he said. "I don't look at numbers. Not at all."

Unless they're on the scoreboard and the crooked number he put up there with his three-run homer that sent the Padres spinning to an unexpected 8-5 win was certainly gratifying.

"That was great, that was great for Schimpfy. He's struggled so hard. It was just a matter of one swing, one swing to get him going again," Padres manager Andy Green said. "And that's getting a cut at a very good fastball and hitting it."

Obviously, there's a familiarity with Rodney, who had an All-Star first half of the 2016 season for San Diego before being traded to the Marlins. He signed as a free agent with the D-backs as their closer this offseason.

Rodney had been 6-for-6 in save opportunities before blowing this one.

"We had him last year and he was lights out for us," Green said. "To me, watching him [Wednesday] we got a lot more fastballs than we typically get against him. He left some fastballs out over the plate for us to hit and we did a great job hitting them."

Schimpf was adroitly double-switched into the game by Green in the sixth inning when the manager made a pitching change. In his first at bat against , Schimpf lined out to second, dropping his average to .100.

He wasn't aware of that as he dug in against Rodney with a pair of runners on, one out and the Padres trailing, 5-3, in the ninth. He did know he hit 20 homers and had 51 RBIs last year. He was about to hit his fourth of the current campaign.

"I was trying to get ready because Rodney has some funky stuff," he said. "I was just trying to square something up and get the run in."

Is it best to just blank it all out and put everything else behind you?

"Sometimes it's just a blur and you just kind of do it," he said. "I think most guys are at their best when they're not thinking too much."

Schimpf took a ball and then smacked the next pitch with the head of the bat. There was the unmistakable crack of wood hitting cowhide and the ball jumped out of there deep into the right-field bleachers in a hurry.

"I threw the pitch I wanted, but it stayed a little out over the middle," Rodney said.

After that, it was the deluge as added a two-run double.

"They're a free-swinging team," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "They jump on mistakes. And then obviously, with Schimpf hitting the three-run home run, that seemed to really take the wind out of our sails."

It was a big win for the young Padres and snapped a four-game losing streak. On Monday, they roared back from a 7-1 deficit after Zack Greinke left the game, coming within one base hit of tying the score with a runner on second and two out in the eighth of a 7-6 loss.

On Wednesday, it turned out a little differently. Perhaps the Padres and Schimpf will get going.

"Yeah, we'll see," he said. "It felt good. We'll just try to keep working and do what we have to do to win ballgames."